Environmental sustainability plays a major role in the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. In this framework, the balance between satisfying social and economic needs, on the one hand, and protecting environmental resources, on the other, has become a key development issue. AICS participates in this challenge through Office 5, which is engaged in the construction of a new culture of “green development” within the Italian and the international cooperation.
The global variety of ecosystems and landscapes contributes to shaping social and economic factors, which affect the development of local territories and communities, providing special inputs to their economic growth and resilience. The critical relationship between economic development, growth and environmental protection, if not reconciled in sustainable ways, risks causing the depletion of natural resources. And environmental conditions in Partner countries are often vulnerable to several shocks, which may produce heavy effects on their development.
The Agency is committed to supporting the sustainable management and use of natural resources through actions in Partner countries for protecting water, air and soil, and for preserving biodiversity and combating desertification. Moreover, the Agency's priorities include the elaboration and implementation of measures for mitigating the effects of climate change and for fostering resilience. Instruments of environmental and climate finance, along with institutional agreements on the conservation of natural ecosystems, also come under the tasks of Office 5. Another specific area of responsibility concerns the energy and infrastructure sector, which includes transportation and water networks, the distribution of electricity generated by renewable resources, and the broad sector of territorial planning.
Office 5, currently in charge of a portfolio of over 60 programmes with a budget of roughly 380 million euros, has launched a number of special initiatives, including the accreditation procedure for the Green Climate Fund and the creation of the multi-actor platform "ENERGIA", which brings together the worlds of business and of the universities so as to activate human and financial resources, both public and private, for a sustainable green economy.
Within the Italian institutional setting, the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of the Environment, enhanced by the joint participation to COP22 in Marrakech, has marked a strategic step in the process of strengthening the "Italian system" for international cooperation.